Tuesday , September 23 2014
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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bristol Night Race Recap

*In a Nutshell –* The latest “new” Bristol is still not the Bristol of old. But between the buzz, the wrecks and a decent crowd, the August night race resembled its former self for the first time since the pre-Chase era. *Dramatic Moment –* Matt Kenseth aggressively drove underneath Tony Stewart battling for position on lap 333, leading the two to both crowd each other exiting the corner and ending with both drivers ending up slamming the inside wall with wrecked race cars. Kenseth was able to drive away, but his damage wasn’t complete; one lap later, an angry Stewart threw his helmet at Kenseth’s No. 17 exiting pit road, nailing the Fusion decal on the front hood of the vehicle. Stewart went after Kenseth in post-race remarks, noting “I’m going to run over him every chance I get” when asked how he’d race a likely-to-be Chase competitor going forward. Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-2 Race Recap

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-2 Race Recap

*Key Moment* - Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car once "Mark Martin was speared by the pit wall opening in a scary, mid-race crash.":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sis-ZL7w8 But as J.J. was strolling to what would have been his series-leading fourth victory, a valve spring failed with less than 15 miles left to run. That handed Greg Biffle Christmas in August, gift-wrapping him a second victory after a green-white-checkered finish and a pesky push from Michigan native Brad Keselowski. *In a Nutshell* - The race doesn't always go to the swift, but be warned; each race appears destined to be Jimmie Johnson's these days when the No. 48 team doesn't beat themselves. Oh, and cookie cutters don't always need to be repaved. Michigan makes the old Charlotte levigation experiment look like an award-winning national construction project by comparison. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Watkins Glen Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Watkins Glen Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – This one wasn’t over until the checkered flag was thrown. Wow. *In a Nutshell* – I’m still not a fan of NASCAR road course racing but I liked Sunday’s race a whole bunch. Fenders banging, tempers flaring, the old bump and run and a wholesale change in the running order… what’s not to like? *Dramatic Moment* – That entire last lap was about as wild as anything I’ve seen on a race track in many a moon. We’ll give Kyle Busch some style points for his three-wide kamikaze pass to take the lead on the final restart as well. Ambrose’s eyes were wide as saucers when he saw what Busch did. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pocono-2 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pocono-2 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Jimmie Johnson, who had dominated the race, had his car get out from under him on the final restart and collected second-place Matt Kenseth. From there, it was on. *In a Nutshell* – Mother Nature turned the Pocono race into a high stakes, very loud and damp high-speed game of musical chairs. *Dramatic Moment* – When the field lined up for the final restart, Biblical downpours had reached the edges of the track’s property and the rest of the field knew they had one last shot at Johnson’s dominant No. 48 car. That’s like throwing a prime rib to a pack of starving dogs. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Brickyard 400 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Brickyard 400 Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – The Brickyard 400… the ultimate example of sizzle over steak. *Dramatic Moment* – One lazy evening this week, I painted a model car body for a project I’m working on. Watching the paint dry was more exciting than Sunday’s “race.” *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* They’ll likely be talking about *the Olympics,* not Sunday’s farce of a race. How bad was this event? By lap 18, there was a 17-second gap between the leader and the tenth-place driver. It might not have been a great race, but Indy certainly earned the award for the *most ridiculous name of a race* this year. The event was officially _The 19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records._ Oh, and if you watched at home, thanks to our buds at ESPN they were showing the _19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records telecast presented by Golden Corral._ Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: New Hampshire-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: New Hampshire-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Denny Hamlin dominated much of the race but miscommunication in the pits dropped him to fourteenth. Kasey Kahne inherited the lead and with clean air on the nose of his Chevy drove to an easy win. *In a Nutshell* – The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. *Dramatic Moment* – Hamlin’s determined drive over those final laps to get back to the lead was something to watch, especially at a track where passing is so difficult. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Firecracker 400 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Firecracker 400 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kasey Kahne gave Tony Stewart just enough of a push to slip him by the dynamic duo of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Seconds later, Kahne was knocked sideways all pandemonium broke out behind him, handing Stewart his third Cup victory of 2012. *In a Nutshell* – It took awhile to get going but the end of the race featured more violence and mayhem than anything outside a Bruce Willis movie. You gotta love the plate tracks. (No, quite frankly I don’t.) *Dramatic Moment* – Those last eight laps were like lighting a fuse and just waiting for the powder keg to blow. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Kentucky Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Kentucky Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Well, um, the traffic was a whole lot better than last year during a weekend of three tiresome and tepid races. *Dramatic Moment* – There was a protracted and well-driven battle between Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin around the two-thirds mark of the race, one that eventually went the No. 48’s way. Kasey Kahne’s headlong rush to the front in the waning stages was fun to watch, even if a lot of drivers were letting him by because they were worried about having enough fuel to finish the race. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Sonoma Race Recap

_Editor's Note: Matt McLaughlin is off this week. He'll be back next Monday for Kentucky._ *The Key Moment* - Michael Waltrip Racing had a coming out party at Sonoma. The organization led 86 of the 112 laps with Clint Bowyer doing the majority of the work with 71 of those 86 laps. The race went two extra circuits thanks to a late-race spin but Bowyer held off charges from Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart over the last two spins around the road course to notch his sixth victory of his career and third in the history of MWR. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-1 Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – Junior wins again and all is sweetness and light around the globe. In fact I predict tomorrow we’ll see Romney and Obama sharing a single root beer float with two straws at the local Rexall and deciding the election by thumb wrestling. I predict the Iranians will give up their nuclear ambitions, North Korea will schedule democratic elections, the stock market will rise 5000 points and the Carpenters “Close To You” will soar back to the top of the Billboard charts. (For you non-88 fans, pssst, I agree, the end of the race was about as boring as it gets.) Read More »